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Promoting Local Food and Drink Producers

Justin Langham pours wine for CPRE members Justin Langham pours wine for CPRE members © Rupert Hardy

28th June 2017

Sparkling wine, sizzling beef sirloin and scrumptious cheese were all in evidence at the summer Open Day held for members of the Dorset branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England at Langham Wine Estate earlier this month.

Dorset CPRE also launched a new initiative to promote local food and drink producers. This follows on from a campaign to help village shops face the relentless onslaught from supermarkets. It sponsors a class, Best Village Shop, in the Best Dorset Village Competition run by Dorset Community Action. It also organised a retailing seminar for local shopkeepers. Dorset CPRE strongly believes too in supporting farmers, especially the more environmentally responsible ones, at a time when the whole question of farm subsidies is up for debate given Brexit.
Over ninety CPRE members and others attended the Open Day and went on a vineyard and winery tour. They had the chance to sample some of Justin Langham’s delicious award-winning English sparkling wines, as well as the produce from various local Dorset food makers. This included succulent beef and other meat from the Brace of Butchers in Poundbury, marvellous Blue Vinny cheese and chutneys from Dorset Blue, as well as cheese from Ford Farm, the biggest producer of Traditional West Country Farmhouse Cheddar in the UK. All three have won many prizes for their fantastic products too. Members also enjoyed the excellent buffet lunch provided by Helen Furness Catering from Cerne Abbas. Langham Wine Estate welcomes visitors on certain days (see website for tours and tastings, with a brand new kitchen recently opened. Justin says: “We want more people to discover and enjoy our wines, and learn how we produce world-class sparkling wine in the heart of Dorset”.
Rupert Hardy from Dorset CPRE writes about local foods and their makers, but he also “wants to highlight some of the problems local quality food and wine producers experience. These mostly concern distribution and include the reluctance of most supermarkets either to stock local products or give them a reasonable profit margin, the slowness of many catering outlets to highlight the provenance of their raw materials on menus, poor promotion of Farmers’ markets, and as always the burden of red tape”. However the cheaper pound should be already benefiting local foods, which are available at Farmers’ markets, independent farm and village shops, and online, as well as some more enlightened supermarkets.

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